With its turbulent history and stunning geographical features, Istria offers a diverse range of photographic subjects from historical coastal towns, seascapes and traditional villages to the rolling hills and fertile plains of the interior and many natural attractions, waterfalls and caves. Despite being a hotspot for tourism, you can still witness traditional life; fishermen at work on their boats, farmers in the fields, salt-making and other typical crafts, as well as sampling local cuisine. Spring is one of the best times to visit. From mid April to mid June, Istria is less busy and very lush. October or November is perfect for autumn colours, with the reds green and golden vineyards, but opportunities abound whenever you visit. High season is July to end of August during the school summer holidays. This is still a good time to visit if you can cope with tourists and hot weather. In winter Istria hibernates – there’s not much going on, which can be great for a photographer. Slovenia and Croatia have few restrictions for photographers other than respecting the guidelines in national parks and usual restrictions re tripods and flash photography in most museums and galleries.
Organize your trip so you can get the most out of Istria’s diversity and see a bit of everything. A must visit is a visit to Rovinj and Piran – two amazingly beautiful coastal towns – to me these two places are among the most photogenic towns in Europe! The other coastal towns such as Poreč, Pula, Koper or Novigrad are also worth exploring if time permits. For the best seascapes head to Cape Kamenjak on the southern tip of the peninsula. My next favorite location is Savudrija with its jetties and lighthouse. But you’ll find beautiful spots all along the Istrian coastline – just walk away from the most touristy and urban areas. The interior of Istria is a different world. I discover new places every year when returning to more familiar locations such as Motovun or Grožnjan towns or to the Kraški Rob area.
Istria is a safe destination for travel in general. You can photograph everywhere in confidence, including at night, but apply usual common sense when out with your camera gear. Croatia and Slovenia both use standard European two-pin plugs at 220V. The two major mobile network providers in Slovenia are Telekom and Simobil. Recommended mobile network providers in Croatia are HT (Hrvatski Telekom) or VIP. The majority of the area has network coverage and data transfer is fast and reliable. In cities 4G is common. Croatia uses the Croatia Kuna currency and Slovenia is within Euro zone. Changing money is easy and ATMs are everywhere. There are border controls between the two countries so always keep your travel documents with you. Sometimes in high season and at weekends the borders are very busy – it is not unusual to wait over an hour to cross!